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The Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Board held its meeting on March 23. Gary Griffin, Lila Rigby, and Laurie Harrison were not present.

After greeting of the Board, the Board was given a tour by Mike Blauer, CEO, of the new Emergency Department. He is hoping the new Department will be ready for use by the middle of April. There will be several more ER beds, the CAT scan machine, and a new MRI in that area. The MRI is scheduled to arrive in early April and will take about a month to be up and running. There is a waiting area, and the Department will not be situated so anyone entering the hospital from the rear has to go right past the area. The new ER Department will be a welcome addition to the facility.

The Board then reported on their rounding assignments with all reports being a positive experience for the members. The Board continues to be proud of the excellent job the employees do and their care for the patients.

Maxine Matthews reported she is excited to see a search for the HR position.

Cordell Passey reported that Dr. Campbell had written a farewell letter stating he has 100 acres to enjoy with three sides being a wooded area. He will miss Bear Lake but is looking forward to his new home.

People’s Choice Award Nominees were: Angel DeClark, Joanne Jensen, and Brandi Tillotson.

Congratulations was given to Joanne Jensen for 20 years of service.

The minutes from the previous meeting were approved. Maxine Matthews was glad to hear that a new urologist has been located. Franklin Medical Center has found a urologist, and he is willing to come to Bear Lake once a week. Urology is a needed service.

Leslie Crane gave the financial report. The hospital is showing a loss so far this year, but things are improving, and she is hoping to see things turn around soon.

CEO Blauer reported that there might be Federal Funds available to the hospital but no details yet.

The Department heads will hold a retreat in April at the hospital. It will be scaled down, and the event will be held locally due to COVID.

CEO Blauer has held a town hall event that he felt was successful.

Dr. Richens will be starting in mid-June and is looking forward to joining the staff.

The portico and gazebo at the Manor are close to completion. They are a welcome addition to the facility.

Tracy Park gave the Foundation report. The Foundation is continuing its fundraising events and is excited to be planning Trivia Night in April or May, the Ultimate Bear Laker and the Salmon Bar-B-Que, and the Golf Tournament. The Ultimate Bear Laker will be drawn at the Golf Tournament the end of August.

There have been some changes in Medicare and more will be learned about this. Some of the changes will impact several of the Critical Care Access Hospitals. One of the things affecting the quality is the lack of surveys being returned. Patients can help the hospital by returning the surveys they receive in the mail. They must be done by mail and can’t be done online.

The Foundation will give three scholarships to high school seniors. Seniors may apply online.

Trecia Sparks gave the Board a copy of the Quality Compliance Plan for their review. It will be discussed more at the next meeting.

CEO Bluer gave his Management Report. He said there have been fewer requests for the COVID test, and as of the date of this meeting, there are only four known cases in the Bear Lake County. The National Guard has been helping with the screening of visitors to the hospital, which helps free up staff. They have also been assisting in the Skilled Nursing Facility. He is hoping no one is alarmed to see uniformed men greeting them when arriving at either facility.

The CMS has told nursing homes to open up visitation for their residents. It will depend on whether the resident has been vaccinated to be able to have any physical touch from their family members.

Commissioner Rasmussen reported that Idaho is seeing a very contagious strain of COVID, especially in the Idaho Falls and Bingham County areas. It will most likely move this way most likely. He hopes people will continue taking the necessary precautions needed to keep from having it be a problem in our region. Bingham Hospital had 17 patients admitted with COVID as of today.

Cordell Passey allowed board members to express comments or concerns.

Emily Transtrum was grateful for the care staff gives patients and was able to see this first hand. They do a good job.

Maxine Matthews also appreciates the hospital staff.

Mark Harris reported on Bill 316 which could impact the CAT fund and Indigent funds. There are mixed feelings by some on this, and he and Commissioner Rasmussen have discussed this several times. There have been some concerns raised about how this might impact mental health treatment. At this time, it is unclear how many may be affected by this bill. There will be more done on this bill when the recess is over.

Commissioner Rasmussen also thanked the staff for the work they do. He also thanked the Board and Senator Harris.

Leslie Crane thanked Dr. Meissner for her hard work during COVID and for staying on top of the research.

The Board moved to Executive Session with no decisions made after returning to the open meeting.

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